Blend, flip, disrupt

In Blend, flip, disrupt, I report on a a Blended Learning in K-12 conference at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

When she introduced Khan Academy videos and quizzes to her sixth-grade math students, Suney Park had to “give up control,” she said.  “That’s hard.”

But the software lets her students work at their own level and their own pace, moving on only when they’ve mastered a lesson. More are reaching proficiency, says Park, who teaches at Eastside College Prep, a tuition-free private school in all-minority, low-income East Palo Alto, California.

“I’ll never go back,” Park said.

Before she tried blended learning, she struggled to “differentiate” instruction for students at very different levels. “You can try it, but you can’t sustain it,” she said. “Teaching to the middle is the only way to survive.” Now, her advanced students aren’t working on a task devised to “keep them out of the way.” They’re moving ahead.

Personalizing lessons for each student’s needs and providing immediate, actionable feedback on each student’s mastery (or not) are two of the biggest advantages of blended learning, said Michael Horn, co-founder of the Christensen Institute.

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  1. Deirdre Mundy says:

    But if Khan is doing the teaching, why do the people supervising the class need education degrees? Why not hire high school grads to keep order at Walmart/Target payrates?

    • If Sal Kahn’s getting the job done then why would you want hire people with education degrees if they’re not necessary?

  2. Has anyone else noticed that the general level of respect for teachers has dropped in tandem with the abandonment of the “sage on the stage” in favor of “the guide on the side”? The promotion of “peer tutoring” probably hasn’t helped. If teachers don’t have significant knowledge to transmit, kids can discover their own knowledge and bright-but-resentful 10-year-olds can teach struggling classmates effectively, then the teacher’s role is diminished. Have the proponents of such practices considered those possible consequences? BTW, if kids are forced to “peer tutor”, why should they not be paid? (I think peer tutoring, like mandatory community service, should be illegal).

  3. It is unfortunate that Teachers are being held to unreachable standards and penalized when they ultimately fail, by no fault of their own. I understand ruffling up the system and going with change to help goals be met, but I feel as though we might be relying too much on technology. What part, precisely, would Teachers be playing in this new ‘advancement’?

  4. Some of the problems for which technology is touted as the solution have been created by the ed system (and the politicians); including the insistence on heterogeneous classes that often also have full inclusion. The same institutions that insist teachers are so important have yet to explain how 10 minutes of the teacher’s time, in a heterogeneous class, is just as good as 50 minutes of her time, in a homogeneous one.